Android Marshmallow Uptake Sits At Just 10 Percent With Android N Imminent

If there's a point of frustration for Android users, it's the inevitable waiting game for newer builds to trickle down to their handsets and tablets. Looking at the latest data from Google, just 10.1 percent of Android users are enjoying Marshmallow, with the majority of users still stuck on Lollipop, KitKat, and Jelly Bean (in that order).

Google said at its I/O event that the next major version of its mobile operating system, Android N, will be out sometime this summer. Even if that means a September launch, it's unlikely that Marshmallow's ranks will swell much above a couple of percentage points between now and then. By that time, Marshmallow will be nearly a year old (it's been on the market for seven months).

Android Marshmallow

Here's what the current breakdown looks like:
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow: 10.1 percent
  • Android 5.0-5.1 Lollipop: 35.4 percent
  • Android 4.4 KitKat: 31.6 percent
  • Android 4.1 to 4.3 Jelly Bean: 18.9 percent
  • Android 4.0.3 to 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich: 1.9 percent
  • Android 2.3.3 to 2.3.7 Gingerbread: 2 percent
  • Android 2.0 Froyo: 0.1 percent
One thing to keep in mind is that Google's data is representative of Android devices connecting to Google Play. That leaves out devices without Google Play installed, such as Amazon's Fire tablet line, but it's still a generally accurate breakdown of the ecosystem. The question is, why is it taking Marshmallow so long to eclipse prior versions?

Part of the problem, for those who consider it one, is that getting a newer build into the hands of users is a long process involving multiple pieces. Handset makers add their own custom overlays, skins, launchers, and other tweaks, and it takes time to test and validate all those customizations.

HTC Android
Click to enlarge

Once all that is finished, there's more testing to be done, this time by wireless carriers. Google and carriers both have to issue what's called a "Technical Acceptance" (TA) before new versions of Androids can be reach users.

Save for Nexus devices, the path from Google to you is a long one, as HTC brilliantly highlights in this eye-opening infographic. The good news is, Android N is around the bend. And the bad news, of course, is that you might not see it on your device anytime soon, if at all (as it pertains to HTC, it's promised to deliver Android N to its 10, One A9, and One M9 handsets).